The existence in France of a well-organized Jewish underground movement which has been active in the ranks of the Maquis was revealed here for the first time today with the liberation of Paris by French patriots.
“The Jewish underground which is participating in fighting against the Germans conducted by the Maquis has also done marvellous work for the rescue of Jews from occupied France,” Elihau Dobkin, head of the immigration department of the Jewish Agency, stated upon his arrival here from Lisbon today. “The fact that several thousand Jewish children have reached Spain and Portugal from France is also due to the activities of the Jewish underground in France.”
About 3,000 Jews succeeded in escaping from France since the beginning of this year, Mr. Dobkin declared in a statement to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency. They are at present in Spain, Portugal, Tangier and in the Fedala camp near Casablanca. Of them, 850 have been selected for immigration to Palestine.
“The liberation of France,” Mr.Dobkin continued, “will open the way for many Jewish refugees now bottled up in Switzerland to find their way to other countries. Efforts should be made to find new homes for these and other Jewish refugees who may not wish to return to their native lands. There are today 24,000 Jewish refugees in Switzerland alone and tens of thousands of Jews in various parts of France.
The governments of Spain and of Portugal are now ready to admit into their countries several thousand more Jewish refugees from occupied Europe, mostly children and holders of Palestine immigration certificates, providing their maintenance and revaluation is guaranteed, Mr. Dobkin disclosed. He added, however, that in view of the latest war developments, it is doubtful whether any practical use can still be made of this important concession.
Mr. Dobkin reported that the Jewish Agency recently established a permanent office in lisbon. His visit to London, he said, is connected with the rescue program as well as with the need of holding consultations with regard to the resumption of Zionist activities in liberated territories.
The Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency includes articles published from 1923 to 2008. Archive stories reflect the journalistic standards and practices of the time they were published.